I am using several images and video clips to illustrate where the Bechdel test has and hasn’t failed in children’s movies of the past decade. In my analysis, I often reference this material to support the connections I have made. I believe I can invoke fair use for most of the copyrighted material I am using, I just want to make sure I am doing it properly. I am also nervous about whether I am breaking any laws by running the videos through Handbrake to decrypt them, so I can select a clip. Especially the Disney ones.
Good idea to think this through! If you can say confidently how you are repurposing this work, and why you need the amount you need, it helps you the next time you need to make a decision. Use the ICA’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication as a guide to work through your fair uses. Look especially at Section One, “Analysis, Criticism, and Commentary of Copyrighted Material” and Section Two, “Quoting Copyrighted Material For Illustration.” But first read the entire Code, so that you understand the basic logic of fair use.
As a communication scholar, whether you are a student or a faculty member, you have the right to break encryption in order to apply fair use. Your peers fought for this exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s sanctions on decryption of copyrighted material. Use it!
Patricia Aufderheide for ICA
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